Changes in Australian Society reflected in the Performing Arts

Essay by btransformerCollege, UndergraduateB-, July 2008

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The plays, "No Sugar" by Jack Davis, "The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll" (The Doll) by Ray Lawler and "The Removalists" by David Williamson are significant texts which were influenced by the changes in Australian Society between the 1911's and 1970's. Some of the changes involved city and the bush, gender roles, people living under the White Australia Policy. These changes have all been portrayed in the three plays.

"No Sugar" was written in 1986 by Jack Davis, but is based in 1929, in the middle of the depression. Society became racial intolerant and illogical prejudice. More than half the Aboriginal land in New South Wales, between 1911 and the 1920's, was taken for 'whites'. In 1927 police killed at least twenty Aboriginal people in the Kimberly district. A year later at least thirty aboriginal people were murdered. The Federal Governments investigation took only four weeks to conclude that of the killings were necessary.

(Manne, Craven, 2001) Davis relates his text to the occurring events and portrays the Australian society's change in perception towards the Aboriginal people.

The theme of Paternalism from the White Australians is evident in "No Sugar". Davis content of dialogue, "Hello, Chief Protector of Aborigines Office" and events that occur upon the characters; Aboriginal Liquor Act, settlement placement, the receipt of nations reveal the different views Australia had at that time. White man stripped the Aboriginal people of their pride, their identity and their Aboriginality because they thought it was their responsibility to change the Aboriginal people. (Manne, Craven, 2001) When the play was written it was the content that was more interesting, because up until this point this change towards society hadrarely been presented to the white people.

The corruption and forced assimilation of Aboriginality to the Australian culture is showed by Davis's use...